Biography in English

Sung Chiao-jen (5 April 1882-22 March 1913), founder of the Kuomintang. He was assassinated by supporters of Yuan Shih-k'ai.

T'aoyuan, Hunan, was the birthplace of Sung Chiao-jen. Little is known about his family background or early education. Sung's father died when the boy was only 12 sui, and thereafter an elder brother supported the family. In the spring of 1899 Sung entered the Changchiang shu-yuan. He remained there until the winter of 1902, when he passed the entrance examinations for the Wen-p'u-t'ung chunghsueh-t'ang, a middle school at Wuchang which had been founded by Chang Chih-tung (ECCP, I, 27-32). Soon afterwards, Russian occupation of large areas in Manchuria aroused strong anti- Russian and anti-Manchu sentiments in Chinese students. Early in 1904 Sung joined the Huahsing-hui [society for the revival of China], a revolutionary society organized by Huang Hsing (q.v.) and other Hunanese students who had returned recently from Japan. Sung and some of his schoolmates in Wuchang established the K'o-hsueh pu-hsi so [science study group] in mid- 1904 to serve as cover for their recruiting activities on behalf of the Hua-hsing-hui among students and soldiers of the New Army. The young revolutionaries made plans for uprisings at five centers in Hunan during the official celebration of the empress dowager's birthday in November 1904, and Sung Chiao-jen was placed in charge of organizing the uprising at Ch'angte. The discovery by government authorities of this conspiracy early in November forced Sung to flee to Japan.

From mid-December 1904 to June 1905 Sung Chiao-jen studied at the Kobun Institute, which offered short-term courses in law, physics, normal-school training, and political science. He then enrolled at the College of Law and Government. Having become involved in the anti-Manchu revolutionary movement in Japan, he founded the revolutionary magazine Erh-shih shih-chi chih Chih-na [twentieth-century China] in June 1905. Sun Yat-sen arrived in Japan in July, and Sung Chiao-jen, Huang Hsing, and other revolutionary leaders met with him to discuss plans for the amalgamation of several anti-Manchu societies into a new revolutionary league, the Chung-kuo T'ung-meng-hui. W'hen the T'ung-meng-hui was inaugurated on 20 August 1905, with Sun Yat-sen as its chairman, Sung Chiao-jen was named to the judicial department. The Erh-shih shih-chi chih Chih-na became the organ of the T'ung-meng-hui, but, because an issue of the magazine had been confiscated by the Japanese authorities, its name was changed to Min-pao [people's journal] .

In February 1906 Sung Chiao-jen enrolled at Waseda University, using the name Sung Lien. By thus concealing his identity he was able to obtain government education stipends through the Chinese legation in Tokyo. He soon became interested in the geography and contemporary history of Korea and Manchuria, and he came to regard the so-called mounted bandits who infested the Korea-Manchuria border areas as potential allies of the revolutionary party. After discussing the matter with Huang Hsing, Sung and a few companions went to Liaotung in an attempt to win the support of the mounted bandits and to gain a territorial foothold for the revolutionaries in Manchuria. However, the vigilance of imperial troops in the area undermined Sung's mission, and he returned to Tokyo.

Another result of Sung's interest in the Korea-Manchuria border region was his indirect involvement in the settling of the so-called Chientao question. Chientao (also known as Kantao or Yenpien), a sizeable area on the Manchurian side of the Tumen River that had been heavily settled by Korean immigrants, had been the subject of several jurisdictional disputes between the Korean government and the Chinese authorities in Manchuria. After the Russo-Japanese war, the Korean government, backed by Japan, reopened the Chientao question and forced the Ch'ing government to negotiate a settlement. Sung Chiao-jen, again using the pseudonym Sung Lien, wrote a pamphlet on the subject, Chien-tao wen-t'i [the Chientao question], which was published at Shanghai in August 1908. A copy was sent to Yuan Shih-k'ai (q.v.), then minister of foreign affairs at Peking. According to some sources, the pamphlet proved useful to the Chinese negotiators and Sung was offered a government job. In any event, the matter eventually was settled by the Chientao Agreement of 4 September 1909, which gave the Korean settlers the right to remain in the area, but reaffirmed China's legal jurisdiction over them and the area.

By 1908 the repeated failures of revolutionary attempts in China (see Sun Yat-sen; Huang Hsing) had led Chang Chi, Chang Ping-lin (qq.v.), and other T'ung-meng-hui members in Tokyo who were associated with the Min-pao to propose the repudiation of Sun as party leader and the election of Huang Hsing as chairman. Sung Chiao-jen supported this proposal, but he and the others were dissuaded from acting on it by Huang Hsing. Sung continued to spend most of his time studying law and government, writing, and translating Japanese works into Chinese. During the summer of 1910 he met with Chü Cheng (q.v.), T'an Jen-feng (d. 1920; H. Shih-p'ing), and other T'ung-meng-hui leaders in Tokyo to reassess party military strategy, which had been focussed on south and southwest China and which had been markedly unsuccessful. It was decided that the focus of military activity should be shifted to central China and that a central China bureau should be established in Shanghai. T'an Jen-feng was dispatched to the T'ungmeng-hui's south China headquarters in Hong Kong to present these ideas for Huang Hsing's approval, and Huang agreed to support the establishment of a central China bureau if funds could be found for such an undertaking. At the end of 1910 Sung Chiao-jen left Japan for Shanghai, where, at the invitation of Yü Yu-jen (q.v.) he became chief editor of Yü's newspaper, the Min-li-pao. He also made preparations for the establishment of a central China bureau of the T'ung-meng-hui, but his activities were interrupted in April 1911, when he went to Hong Kong in response to a call from Huang Hsing. He helped prepare for the planned assault on Canton and served briefly on Huang's general staff as head of the department dealing with legal matters and the drafting of orders and regulations. After the unsuccessful April revolt in Canton, he returned to Shanghai. On 31 July, he joined with Chü Cheng, Ch'en Ch'i-mei, and others in inaugurating the central China bureau and beginning the task of organizing and coordinating revolutionary uprisings in the Yangtze region, particularly in Wuchang and Hankow.

After the revolt of 10 October 1911 broke out, Sung Chiao-jen accompanied Huang Hsing to Wuchang, then the center of revolutionary activity. Working with Chü Cheng and T'ang Hua-lung (q.v.), the speaker of the Hupeh provincial assembly, he drafted a provisional constitution for Hupeh province and took an active part in planning the convention of provincial delegates called at Wuchang to organize a provisional government. Because Wuchang was still under fire, the convention assembled in the British concession at Hankow on 30 November. By this time, Sung had returned to Shanghai. After the convention moved to Nanking and Sun Yat-sen returned to China, Sung, as a delegate from Hunan, participated in the election of Sun Yat-sen as provisional president on 29 December. After the provisional government was established in Nanking in January 1912, Sung Chiao-jen was appointed head of the law codification bureau (fa-chih-yuan), which was responsible for the drafting of laws and statutes for the new republic. He believed that the best system for a democratic government in China was a "responsible cabinet" system, under which the cabinet would be answerable to and subject to the approval of the Parliament. The premier, as head of the cabinet, would be the chief executive of the government. The "organic law of the provisional government," formulated in December 1911, had made no provision for a premier or a cabinet and had concentrated power in the hands of the provisional president. When it became apparent that Yuan Shih-k'ai would succeed Sun Yat-sen as provisional president, the presidential system was dropped in favor of a "responsible cabinet" system by the framers of the provisional constitution. It asserted that parliamentary approval was necessary when the provisional president appointed cabinet members and diplomatic envoys, declared war, negotiated peace, or signed treaties. The provisional constitution also provided for the convening of a parliament within ten months of its proclamation. Before Sun Yat-sen resigned the presidency in favor of Yuan Shih-k'ai, he secured Yuan's assurance that he would abide by the provisional constitution then being drafted in Nanking. On 10 March 1912 Yuan was inaugurated in Peking; the following day, the provisional constitution was proclaimed. Yuan set up a cabinet, in compliance with the constitution, but he insured his control over this body by appointing his old friend T'ang Shao-yi (q.v.) premier and naming trusted subordinates to head the key ministries of war, the navy, and the interior. Sung Chiao-jen and three other T'ung-meng-hui members were named to head less powerful ministries. Although Sung was aware that his position as minister of agriculture and forestry was one of little authority, he was eager to participate in the new government. On 4 April 1912 the provisional Parliament moved to Peking. It soon became apparent, however, that Yuan Shih-k'ai had no intention of sharing power with the premier or the cabinet. His arbitrary appointment of officials brought him into conflict with T'ang Shao-yi, who resigned in the middle of June. Sung Chiao-jen and the other three T'ung-meng-hui ministers registered their support of T'ang's position by resigning shortly after he left Peking. Sung Chiao-jen's experience in the shortlived T'ang Shao-yi cabinet strengthened his conviction that a workable cabinet system would have to be imposed on the authoritarian Yuan Shih-k'ai if parliamentary democracy were to succeed in China. To support a cabinet that would be both politically effective and responsible to the Parliament, Sung believed, it would be necessary to create a powerful political party which would win a majority of the seats in the National Assembly in the national elections scheduled for December 1912. Through Sung's efforts and personal influence, the T'ung-meng-hui and four other political groups represented in the provisional Parliament—the T'ung-i kung-ho-tang [united republican party] the Kuo-min kung-chin-hui [people's progressive party], the Kung-ho shih-chin-hui [progressive republican party], and the Kuo-min kung-tang [people's public party] —merged to form the Kuomintang, inaugurated at Peking on 25 August with Sun Yat-sen as its director. When Sun, then more interested in railroad development than in practical politics, left Peking in mid-September he designated Sung to act in his place as general director of the party. As de facto leader of the Kuomintang, Sung spent much of the autumn of 1912 in Hupeh, Hunan, Anhwei, and Kiangsu campaigning for the election of party candidates to the new bicameral Parliament and for his own election to the cabinet. The announcement of the election results early in 1913 indicated that the new Parliament surely would be dominated by the Kuomintang, for the new party won 269 of the 596 seats in the National Assembly [chung-i yuan]. The success of the Kuomintang at the polls was also a personal triumph for Sung, and many people expected him to become premier of a new cabinet. As an ardent admirer of Western parliamentary systems, Sung Chiao-jen had sought to introduce European and American electioneering methods to China during the political campaigns of late 1912 and early 1913. Accordingly, he had made a number of campaign speeches in which he had attacked the Peking government and its policies. Although public criticism of the government and its leaders was an accepted political tactic in the West, it was new to China; and it aroused the bitter animosity of Yuan Shih-k'ai and other powerful conservatives. Moreover, the likelihood that Sung, one of the most forceful proponents of government by party cabinet, would head the new Kuomintang cabinet meant that Yuan Shih-k'ai was faced with the prospect of an intense power struggle. On 20 March 1913, as Sung was boarding a Peking-bound train at the Shanghai railroad station, he was shot twice in the abdomen by an assassin. Two days later, only two weeks before his thirty-first birthday, he died. He was survived by his mother, his wife, a son, and a daughter.

The assassination of Sung Chiao-jen quickly became a cause celebre. Almost immediately after his death, two men were seized by the authorities in Shanghai and charged with the crime. Documents found in their homes implicated Chao Ping-chun, the premier, and Hung Shu-tzu, the secretary of the cabinet, and indicated that Yuan Shih-k'ai had been aware of the plot. Although Yuan was able to avoid direct involvement in the case, the others were less fortunate. One of the assassins died in prison in Shanghai, and the other, after escaping from jail, was murdered by unknown assassins on the Peking-Tientsin train in January 1914. Chao Ping-chun, who had become governor of Chihli (Hopei), died suddenly on 27 February 1914. The last remaining suspect, Hung Shu-tzu, fled to the foreign concession of Tsingtao, where he remained until Yuan Shih-k'ai died in June 1916. He returned to Shanghai under an assumed name in 1917 only to be recognized and apprehended by Sung Chen-lü, the son of Sung Chiao-jen, and Liu Pai, who had been the elder Sung's secretary. Hung was tried in Shanghai, extradited to Peking, and sentenced to death. He was executed on 5 April 1919.

The violent death of Sung Chiao-jen constituted a serious blow to the cause of democratic government in China. The disclosures resulting from the investigation of his assassination brought the conflict of political interest between Yuan Shih-k'ai and the Kuomintang to public attention and helped spark the so-called second revolution of 1913 (see Li Lieh-chun). The Kuomintang, deprived of its strongest political leader, split into factions and soon ceased to be an effective political force. Not until its reorganization under Sun Yat-sen a decade later did it regain the strength it enjoyed early in 1913.

Biography in Chinese

字:遁初 号:渔父



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